Saturday, April 30, 2011

You can sleep when you're dead... right?


For the third time in as many weeks, I heard a horrific story of someone relatively young just going about their merry way and then falling out. Dead. Heart attack. Gone. Called home. Just. Like. That. 

LeDamn! What thing did these three people have in common? Work, work, work, grind, grind, grind. We've become a culture that admires and reveres hard work over all else. The pastor spoke on it the other day. He called it, "Grind Nation" - we are a people on the grind, powered by caffeine and energy bars.

But at the detriment of what? Our health? Loved ones? Our future?

I recall working at Huge Consulting Co Inc and literally pausing in the middle of a conference call to tell everybody to cut out early. We were exhausted. We were working 90 - 100 hour weeks. Some of us hadn't spent more than a few minutes with our families or significant others in over 60 days. Someone said, "What about the client?" I responded, "Next week is soon enough. No one is putting 'they worked so hard' on your gravestone." 

Let's take a timeout for a blast from the past. Here's Vertical Hold with a young Angie Stone singing - Seems You're Just Too Busy...


I was noticing on Twitter the other day just how many people were announcing that they were still at work at some crazy hour or got in early or hadn't eaten or were too tired to do anything more than fire off a tweet and drop comatose into their beds. 

Lord knows I'm guilty of staying up trying to finish "just one last thing" and the next thing I know, it's 3:00 in the morning. [Author guiltily squints across room to see clock read out 2:47am - my bad] In my defense, I'm a creative person. I have to follow the dictates of my sometimey Muse. I wish I was the sort of writer who could pop on the computer at 8:00am, type up a few chapters and shut it down around four. But no, my divalicious Muse wants to get froggy round midnight. That heffa is silent as a mug all diggity damn day but just let me lay my head on a pillow and there she goes whispering, "You know what would be a great blog topic? Oh, and I figured out what was wrong with chapter seventeen. Get up! You can sleep when you're dead."

No need to tell Le Muse Miserable that stress caused by exhaustion and inability to turn one's brain off and decompress is a leading cause of stroke and other death-inducing ailments... she doesn't care.

But you should. I'm all for hustle, my friends. Life is short and I get it - you've got to get it in while the getting is good. Just make sure you don't look back in five, ten, fifteen years (if life lasts) to realize you have nothing but a slamming resume to show for it. Life happens. Grab you some.

I'm off to Florida to visit BougieSis for a week. I may have some guest posts this week. I may jot a thought or two myself, we'll just see how it goes. Now everybody get out there and enjoy some of the weekend, won't you?

16 comments:

SassyJJ said...

I started my career in non-profit before I became a fed. I thought that in order to "be down for the people", I had to be at work at 8am (shift started at 830) and leave around 7 or 8pm (shift ended at 5). And lets not forget the all-nighters when there was a city-wide program coming up. Ugh. That got old.really.quickly. Serious case of burnout, stress, anger, and just plain giving my existence to a job that, quite frankly, would go on without me. I started taking my full hour lunches, taking walks, getting up every hour to walk around and stretch...and I left work at 5pm, eh, 455 on a good day :).

Right before I started my new job last year, I spent ten glorious days in Italy. When I came back, I had a new perspective. People on my old job commented on how rested I looked, how I glowed, and I did. I was happy with myself and my life. No, I wasn't stacking the bank or able to bring home a designer Gucci for half of what it cost here in the states, and bills welcomed me when I came home, but I put the most important person FIRST and my inner spirit thanks me for it.

I don't do stress. I don't do drama. I've had enough in the past three years alone to do me well for the rest of my life. But what kept me from tipping to the darkside was God's hand guiding me, starting and completing my Master's degree, and finding and doing ME!

Chele- Enjoy your week with BougieSis!

Nicole said...

Amen *says woman hunched over computer in the library on a Saturday morning cramming for finals*

maureen palmer said...

I remember when I first move to the U.S, I could not get my mind wrapped around folk working all the time. I even had boss tell me, "that is why it's a first world & not third world like your country, Kenya". woww!

Fast forward, I worked for this British guy(and u know Europeans love themselves fiesta time) who used to tell me, if u drop dead today, best believe it my company will still be here. In his words, "learn how to unplug from the matrix".

GammasWorld said...

Amen, AMEN, and A-M-E-N!!! If you follow me on Twitter or read my occasional blog postings, then you know I spent literally the last week in the hospital getting an ICD implanted. It was truly a miracle that I wasn't one of those relatively young (almost 50) that dropped dead from a heart attack. Take Chele's advice to heart people. SERIOUSLY.

Angel Blanca said...

Have a wonder-FULL, rest-FULL time with BougieSis!

rozb said...

I wholeheartedly agree and lift my glass to you! Have a great week!

J. Jackson said...

I'm at Starbucks now reading papers for my cognitive science class. I have to do a 10 page paper that I have not started on. *sigh*

Jubilance said...

Work/life balance is the name of my game.

Enjoy your time off! See you when you get back.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

All I have to say is, "Amen!".

Oh Stewardess said...

So sad when people don't know how to unplug that their heart shuts it down permanently. If anyone has to work their life away - what they hell is the point? What I'm beginning to understand from some of our younger brothers and sisters is this workaholic syndrome has to be in direct proportion to why there are so many single women. Still all I can think of is Bey, the hardest working woman in show business still made time for her prince charming - and she is almost a billionaire - I'm thinking some folks need to recheck their game plan. Work smarter not harder - and make time for you and your love.

CorettaJG said...

A girlfriend from law school working at a high speed DC law firm had a heart attack in her early 30s. I worked myself up so much after my divorce that I believe it contributed to my diagnosis with an autoimmune disease (and I was one of those people who never got sick). No Ma'am. I want to live and enjoy my life. Sometimes you have to take it down a notch and especially LISTEN to the warning signs from your body and act accordingly. Stress is a killer.

CaliGirlED said...

Glad to see you're feeling better Gamma!

Steve said...

Nice. Sometimes we need the reminder. Life is short.

William Martin said...

Those on us on hour 32 without sleep are totally feeling this post. G'night.

The Retro Natural said...

Beautiful post!

I wasn't a very ambitious high school or college student and I'm glad that wasn't the default for me. I got high grades (well, decent in college - but hey they don't ask about grades just about that degree!) and while I saw the point in working hard, I didn't see the point in working too damn hard. So I didn't. Maybe it's my Taurus like ways but I love chill time, I loved recess as a kid, I skip towards my car after work and I LIVE. I don't wanna wonder where the time went or wonder if I'll ever really let loose and have fun. The time is now :)

Ekwenzi Gray said...

"Le Ouch." Not cool. I find myself identifying with the post a little too much for my liking. I'm logging off now and going back to wo...uh, I'm going out. Somewhere. Anywhere but here. Just as soon as I finish one more, okay two more...*sigh*

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